March 05, 2008

It Certainly Wasn’t For Lack of Effort: Belleville shuts out Ottawa

This was the 8th and final regular season game between these two teams with Belleville having the advantage going into tonight’s game. Three of the previous games went into overtime with each club taking one overtime win and Ottawa winning in the lone shoot-out. But despite what appears to be a close record between these two teams, Belleville is clearly the stronger of the two based on the numbers below. The CHL pre-game report was pretty generous in describing Ottawa’s potential as an opponent.

Game Day Set-Up
Ottawa 67sBelleville Bulls
26-31-2-3 Record43-13-4-2
East – 7thConference – RankEast – 1st
15th - 0.174PP – Rank and %3rd – 0.226
10th – 0.816PK – Rank and %11th – 0.817

Top Guns - Ottawa
Jamie McGinnLW50272855+10
Logan CoutureC45203454+11
Matthieu MethotLW62221840-14

Additional Ottawa Player Notes: Scratches for the game were Jason Bailey (hip), Jamie McGinn (shoulder) and Michael Latta (3 game suspension – when did that happen and for what crime against humanity and hockey – they are two different considerations!!) Adam Courchaine got the call.

Top Guns - Belleville
Matt BeleskeyLW56404383+31
Adam PerryLW62294675+17
Shawn MatthiasC47284472+21

Additional Belleville Bulls Player Notes: didn’t catch any of lineup changes

Game Summary
One of the rarer games we got on ExpressVu. As I was preparing the head-to-head stats for the game I was thinking to myself,…self, this could be a tough game for the boys. By the numbers, Belleville has it all over Ottawa including being the 4th ranked team in the entire CHL.

But give the 67s credit, although they didn’t generate much in the way of dangerous offense they sure did a dandy job of playing responsibly in their own end. Adam Courchaine also did his part in keeping the team in the game. It took Belleville two and a half periods to get the game winner against an impressive Ottawa defensive attitude. I think this was the best defensive performance that I have witnessed from this team all season.

I didn’t actually get to see ALL of the game (damn Blackberries and work!!) but I really liked what I saw from the whole team. I lost track of the lines after the first period but once again, the rookies with the leadership of the likes of Kiriakou and Methot were outstanding. I haven’t bothered with working out the details but I would hazard a guess that the Ottawa team on the ice tonight was quite a bit younger than the Bulls.

No running around, no panicking, good positioning generally. It was great to watch. Also, aside from the dirty hit on Cuma at the end of the second period, it was also a relatively clean game. All penalties came in the second period which is statistically interesting. Both teams trying to rely on skill rather than thuggery.

Ottawa was seriously outshot in the first period (3 – 15) but managed to get closer to even in the second period and eventually outshooting the Bulls in the third for a final shot count of 35 – 21 for Belleville.

Ottawa had a couple of good scoring chances but Murphy was there for some good saves.

Adam Courchaine was the second star according to the TSN guys; he got the third star in the rink. I would not suggest that either of the two goals were soft.

Yup – another loss for the 67s but not an ugly loss. And against a pretty hot team. As a fan, I don’t feel bad about this game – in fact I thought the team played really competitively. Sure, a goal or two would be great but they really held their own quite well. Watching this game was not a waste of my time.

If they keep this up – the goals will follow.

The game sheet is here. See you on Friday!

Go 67s Go!

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